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Chinese promise to buy soybeans

DANIEL LOOKER Updated: 02/16/2012 @ 10:01am Business Editor

A delegation of Chinese leaders agreed to buy 8.62 million metric tons (MMT) of U.S. soybeans worth $4.3 billion at a signing ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa Wednesday. That amount equals almost 316 million bushels of soybeans. 

The group was headed by Bian Zhenhu, president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Foodstuaffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products (CFNA).

According to Kirk Leeds, CEO of the Iowa Soybean Association, the delegation will hold another ceremony in Los Angeles that will likely bring the total commitment to more than 12 MMT, topping a record of 11.6 MMT set in Chicago last year.

The commitments aren't actual sales contracts and they include a mix of old crop and new crop soybeans. 

China is the largest export market for U.S. soybeans, purchasing about 25% of the nation's crop. 

Iowa is the first stop for a delegation of Chinese business leaders who will visit 11 U.S. cities on the current goodwill trip a Chinese Ministry of Commerce official, Yo Jianhua, said at the signing ceremony which was held at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. 

The group precedes a visit to Iowa late Wednesday and Thursday by China's Vice President, Xi Jinping, Chinese Agriculture Minister Han Chungfu and other officials.  

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